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updated: 7/15/2014 3:22 PM

Illinois lawmakers look to ease prison crowding

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  • A group of legislators is looking for new ways to address crime in Illinois communities and overcrowding in the state's prisons and jails.

      A group of legislators is looking for new ways to address crime in Illinois communities and overcrowding in the state's prisons and jails.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

A group of legislators is looking for new ways to address crime in Illinois communities and overcrowding in the state's prisons and jails.

The newly formed Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee is set to meet Tuesday in Chicago.

The bipartisan committee also will look at how to reduce racial disparities in sentencing and the number of people released from prison who commit new crimes.

Rep. Mike Zalewski is a Riverside Democrat. He pushed to create the committee during the recent legislative session.

Zalewski tells WUIS radio that for many years, lawmakers' method of dealing with crime was to increase the penalty for it. He says legislators are realizing that may not be the best solution.

The committee is expected to issue recommendations by the end of the year.

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